More species of fynbos per m2 than any plant species in the world Banghoek Private Reserve check list here

Banghoek is one of the few remaining relatively pristine areas of Fynbos left on the west coast and is largely Mountain Fynbos.  The Reserve is home to a number of rare and endangered species – see Red Data list.  It has a wide diversity of plants in its own right and is unusual as it also has an area of Rhenosterveld within its borders.  In 1996 a team from the Protea Atlas Project, Kirstenbosch, does a survey of the reserve and provides a list of our Proteaceae species.  They find two rare proteas, one only recently discovered and one yet unnamed. We suggest banghoekeii… but it becomes Seruria pikertbergii and then Piketberg Spiderhead Serruria ‘piketbergensis’.

The Cape fynbos is known for its exceptional degree of biodiversity and endemism, consisting of about 8,500 plant species of the Cape floral kingdom of which circa 6,000 of them are endemic.  To put this into perspective, the British Isles, three and a half times larger, have only 1400 plant types, fewer than 20 of which are endemic.  Still more remarkable is the Cape Peninsula with its 2285 documented plant species in an expanse smaller than that of London.  So special is our flora that it has been designated one of the earth’s six plant kingdoms, putting it on a par with the Boreal Forest Kingdom which covers 50 million square kilometres whereas the Fynbos covers only a small crescent shaped area across the South-western tip of South Africa.

There are more species of fynbos in a square metre than any plant species in the world.  Not even the richest parts of the Amazon come close in its concentration of plants.  The Cape Flora Kingdom contains 526 of the world’s 740 Erica species (the UK has one, heather), 96 Gladiolus species out of 160 world-wide and 69 Proteas out of the 112 on Earth.  It is therefore a truly incredible part of the earth and is regarded as a global epicentre of biodiversity.

However, Fynbos is being backed into a corner.  More than 1400 plants feature in the Red Data list as critically rare, endangered, or vulnerable – almost as many as the entire flora of the UK.   Already it is believed that 29 of these have become extinct.  Much of the original 90 000 sq. km. of the Fynbos kingdom has been lost to development, agriculture or alien; Poplar, Port Jackson, Rooikrans.  Some plant species hold out in localities of one square km or less.  There are two Proteaceae occurring within Banghoek which has only recently (1996) been discovered (Serruria piketbergii) within the Reserve was only the second sighting of one!  Of all the earth’s hot spots (areas with exceptional biodiversity and exceptional habitat threat) the Cape Floral Kingdom ranks amongst the hottest.  Much of the remaining Fynbos lies in private hands such as Banghoek and so it’s future depends on how people care about our environment.

People encountering fynbos for the first time often find it uninteresting, largely treeless with small dry shrubs, long reed like grasses (restios) and scraggy looking bushes.  Yet look harder and you will find an amazing abundance of beautiful flowers, heady accented bushes, medicinal plants, various flowering bulbs and annuals that together give a year-round display.  While certain times of the year – September, October – are more prolific than others, there is always something interesting happening in our fynbos.

See full plant and trees list here

Banghoek Private Nature Reserve